"I am proud that Gabrielle had the courage and vision to support the health care reform legislation that will extend coverage to thousands of uninsured residents in District 8, promote innovative approaches to improving the quality of care and reduce the cost of treatment for patients." -Judy Rich, CEO, Tucson Medical Center
I voted to fix our broken health insurance system because it was fundamentally the right thing to do. The time has come for Americans to be protected from abusive insurance company practices such as denying families coverage for pre-existing conditions.
As a former small business owner, I experienced double-digit increases in the health insurance premiums I paid on my employees' behalf. Health care has gotten so expensive that American businesses--especially small businesses--are struggling to compete. These reforms provide immediate tax credits to small businesses that do the right thing and offer health insurance to their employees.
They also provide tax credits to help families purchase health insurance if their employers don't provide coverage. This will make health care more affordable and accessible for the majority of Southern Arizonans, ranging from children to seniors.
As a fiscal conservative, I felt strongly that we must address America's health care crisis in a fiscally responsible way. The government currently spends 16% of the gross domestic product on health care. This is unsustainable. The reforms I voted for will reduce the deficit by $138 billion over the next decade. Over the following decade, the savings will be even greater.
We also strengthened Medicare for Southern Arizona's seniors, making basic preventative care free and lowering the cost of prescription drugs for those on Medicare.
In Arizona, specifically, these reforms will:
* Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 176,000 families and 13,400 small businesses to help them afford coverage
* Improve Medicare for 135,000 beneficiaries
* Extend coverage to 40,500 uninsured Arizonans
* Guarantee that 10,300 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage
* Protect 900 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs
* Provide funding for 32 community health centers
* Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other providers by $38 million annually